The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931

Adam Tooze. Viking, $40 (640p) ISBN 978-0-670-02492-6
Tooze (The Wages of Destruction), professor of history and codirector of international security studies at Yale University, successfully maps the "emergence of [a] new order of power" from the ashes of WWI. That order was U.S.-centered and had "three major facets—moral authority backed by military power and economic supremacy"—and, Tooze argues, it arose in the context of a "multisided, polycentric search for strategies of pacification and appeasement." America intervened somewhat unwillingly in WWI, after the Eurasian crisis dragged out for several years. Its entry into the war allowed the Entente to secure a victory, but the Treaty of Versailles yielded only a "patchwork world order." The U.S.'s synergy of "exceptionalist ideology" and "Burkean wisdom" gave it a conservative perspective on its future—a perspective that, Tooze argues, clashed immediately with its "pivotal role" in a fragile global economy. The "great democratic alliance" imploded during the Great Depression—not from "deluded idealism," but from a search for a "higher form of realism." Tooze's grand economic history is stimulating, persuasive, and surprisingly accessible. Illus. Agency: Wylie Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
Release date: 11/13/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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